The Southend West MP attended Amnesty International's Annual Human Rights Day Reception on Wednesday 12th December to show his support for women around the world who are being attacked, threatened and even killed for defending their rights.
The event – which Amnesty International hosts annually to mark World Human Rights Day– paid tribute to women human rights defenders around the world who dedicate their lives to fight for equality and justice, often at great personal risk. Human rights activists and MPs from across the UK attended and wrote messages of support to end the persecution of women rights defenders from countries including Iran, Indian and Venezuela, as part of Amnesty’s Write for Rights campaign.
During the event, high profile speakers - including Secretary of State for International Development Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP, Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Lord Ahmad, Amnesty UK’s Director Kate Allen, Syrian journalist Zaina Erhaim, and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group Ann Clwyd MP – showed their support for human rights and the women around the world who are putting their lives at risk to defend them.
This year, celebrations of World Human Rights Day also coincided with the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Amnesty's Write for Rights - the world’s biggest letter writing campaign - is this year supporting 12 women or groups of women around the world who are facing abuses for defending human rights. Attendees of Wednesday’s parliamentary event wrote messages of support to these women, including:
- Atena Daemi, a young activist serving a seven-year jail sentence in Iran for peacefully protesting against capital punishment;
- Geraldine Chacón, a 24-year-old human rights defender supporting disadvantaged young people in Caracas, Venezuela who recently served a 4-month prison sentence and could be re-arrested at any time;
- Vitalina Koval, a prominent LGBTI activist in Ukraine who has been attacked and threatened by a far-right group; and
- Pavitri Manjhi, whose attempts to protect her indigenous Adivasi community in India from being displaced by the construction of power-plants has led to her being threatened by local ‘strongmen’.